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sets his Almighty seal to the church's everlasting safety. Speaking of the Father's original choice of his people in Christ, he saith, For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called ; and whom he called, them he also justified ; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Rom. viii. 29, 30.)
I have dwelt so largely in dissecting the several parts of my text, that I cannot trespass much farther. I would, however, just beg to observe, what a blessed relation this Scripture contains of the glorious and fundamental doctrines of our most holy faith, in the gracious acts of Jehovah in his trinity of persons. In many, yea, in numberless portions of the word of God, the Holy Ghost, by his servants whom he inspired, hath very blessedly marked the divine features of all. But here they are all combined, and brought in together, shining in one full constellation.
Let me farther desire you to observe, from the several contents of this blessed Scripture, how fully, and clearly, the whole cause of salvation, both in its origin and conclusion, is in and from the Lord in his trinity of persons. Here is nothing of the creature found in it. Here is nothing of the creature to be added to it. And if the Lord was so jealous of his honour, when appointing an altar of earth” to be made in the camp of Israel, for the offering of sacrifices under the law; and then saying, “ If thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone, for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it ;” (Exod. xx. 24, 25.) what can we conclude will be the Lord's view of our offerings under the gospel, if aught of ours be mingled with the Lord ? The altar of earth, or the altar of stone, suited the circumstances of our lost estate, when approaching to the divine glory ; in which there was .nothing of the creature : "for the earth is the Lord's; and the fulness thereof." (Psalm xxiv. 1.) But our most glorious Lord, in his own Almighty person, is both our altar, sacrifice, and sacrificer. “In him dwelleth all the fulness of the GODHEAD bodily.” And the Holy Ghost hath added, to this soul-refreshing sentiment, this blessed testimony to the church : “Ye are complete in him.” (Colos. ii. 9, 10.)
My brethren! It is of vast importance to know these things from divine teaching; and from the divine influence to live upon them. Nothing this side eternity can equal, on these truths, the anointings of the Holy Ghost in the heart, and mind, and conscience, that from day to day, the Lord's people may realize them, substantiate them, make them our familiar companions, and by lively actings of faith upon each person in the GODHEAD, be growing up into such an enjoyment of them as to fill the soul by anticipation of delight with the glory that shall be revealed. The Sacred Scriptures, under the unction of God the Holy Ghost, will widen our spiritual apprehension to the daily contemplation ; and bring the glories of heaven down to our view, like those glasses, to the natural eye, which bring home distant objects as if very near. This is what Paul for himself, and his few faithful companions meant, when he said: “ Our conversation is in heaven: from whence we look for the Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philip. iii. 20.). And this is similar to that other expression of Paul's to Titus, in which he expressed himself as on the look out “ for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus ii. 13.)
I add no more but a prayer to God, that a blessing
THE LORD CASTING UP THE WAY OF HIS PEOPLE.
may accompany our present attention to this subject. And as the whole efficiency of salvation is of the Lord, nothing of those who are made the happy partakers of it being any thing more than receivers, the Lord the Spirit will give to all his people present the like participation. For, as the highest taught child of God hath nothing to boast, so the lowest hath nothing to fear. Salvation is equally suited to all. Indeed, it is on the souls of those which lay lowest in the dust before the Lord, he makes his grace to shine. Vouchsafe, gracious Lord, thy blessing upon thy people: and give them to see their personal interest in this divine Scripture, as “The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord ; Sought out, A city not forsaken, Amen.
THE END OF THE VILLAGE SERMONS.
A PROP AGAINST ALL DESPAIR,
INTENDED FOR THE CONSOLATION OF
BUT MORE ESPECIALY FOR
THOSE PERISHING SOULS
WHO FEAR THAT THEY HAVE SINNED
BEYOND THE POSSIBILITY OF PARDON.
“The Son of man is come to seek and save that which was lost.” Matt, xviii. 11,
“I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matt. ix. 13.
"God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly." Rom. v. 8.
“ Wherefore he is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by him.” Heb. vii. 25,
It hath been long a subject of much concern in my mind, and occasionly operated with peculiar force, when I have at times seen the melancholy effects of it, that “ the glorious gospel of the ever blessed God” is not preached with that fulness, freedom, and sovereignty of salvation which its great Author commanded, and the necessity of sinners evidently requires.
According to every principle of the gospel, there can be but one great and leading idea entertained concerning it, namely, that it is a glorious display of mercy to a lost world; originating in the sovereign, free, and unmerited grace of God, and proclaimed to mankind as a finished salvation through the sole merits, righteousness, and death of the Lord Jesus Christ: in which rich plan of redemption there are these striking particularities eminently distinguished,
As First. The gospel considers all men, universally speaking, as lost, and all equally incapable of putting forth an helping hand toward the attainment of their own salvation. For it is the unalterable sense of Scripture, that it was when without strength, and in due time, that Christ died for the ungodly." Observe the expression. Not simply when we were maimed or crippled in our faculties by reason of sin; not when some strength remained, however small, which, when co-operating with other aid, might have procured our recovery; but when all possible resources in ourselves were lost; without strength, or (as it is elsewhere more strongly expressed,) when we were altogether “dead in trespasses and sins ;" as if some mighty mountain had fallen upon our nature, and crushed all our powers.
And this view of mankind, in which the gospel considers our nature as universally lost, represents it also as universally undeserving, in every instance, of Divine favour. This forms a second striking feature in the gospel of Jesus. The gospel of